Gabrielle Ryan
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for DIRECTV

After years of auditioning for various roles, Gabrielle Ryan was almost ready to give up.

“It was in 2018 and someone very dear to me said, ‘Give me a year.’ He was like, ‘If after this year you really feel like you don’t want to do it anymore, then yeah, go back to England,'” the actress exclusively tells GRAZIA USA. “I was like, ‘OK, whatever. I will give it another year,’ and it really was the turning point where I believed in myself again.”

“I have a lot of successful actor friends, and I never got jealous. I always saw all of these people around me doing so well that I would say my time is coming,” she continues.

Thankfully, Ryan’s career worked out, as she scored the part as fiery bar-owner Gloria in STARZ’s Power Book IV: Force. The U.K. native stars opposite Joseph Sikora, who plays Tommy Egan, and viewers now get to see his journey outside of New York.

Since the brunette beauty is obsessed with the show — “fan would be an understatement,” she quips — it was easy for her to get into character.

“I was instantly attracted to Gloria,” she shares. “I knew that it was a character that I understood. I feel like I really understand Gloria and her world, so it wasn’t so much that it was challenging or anything, it was actually really exciting to delve into her characteristics and her traits.”

Gabrielle Ryan
Mark Barnfield

“She is definitely feisty, determined and fearless and she lives in this world with these powerful men who are sometimes dangerous — but that doesn’t phase her,” she continues. “She can very much handle herself in these scenarios, which says a lot about how she grew up and the kind of people she is used to being around.”

Fans went wild for the latest installment, and The Hollywood Reporter announced that the series has broken records, as it is the highest rated premiere on STARZ — ever. Though Ryan was nervous as to how the fandom would welcome Gloria, she was pleasantly surprised with the reactions.

“It’s overwhelming how lovely they have been and the amount of messages and comments that I have read have been lovely — and all the reviews have been lovely as well,” she says. “It’s been great. I am very blessed, I am so grateful to [producers] 50 Cent and Courtney Kemp for taking a chance on me with this role and bringing me into this Power universe that they created. It’s a cultural phenomenon that I am so proud to be a part of.”

Not only does Ryan pinch herself when she is working alongside veteran actors and actresses, but she admires Gloria for being “so cool and confident” when she is basically the only female in the picture.

“Tommy has a strong presence, and she can really sort of match that and sort of handle herself around that,” she notes. “It’s really refreshing to sort of see a women play that female. It was really, really fun.”

Gabrielle Ryan
Mark Barnfield

Before the series came about, Ryan only had about 10 days of experience on set, despite auditioning three to four times a week.

“This was definitely not an overnight situation. I have been working on this for a very long time, always getting close and then something doesn’t go through,” she confesses. “I really felt with this one that it was going to be the role that I got, and I always wanted to be on the original Power. I am so glad that it didn’t happen because this was the role that I was supposed to have. Obviously if I had been in the original Power, I wouldn’t be on this one.”

“I have sacrificed so much. I came across the world with not much money and it’s been a real struggle. I am just so grateful to [producer] Mark Canton, 50 Cent and Courtney Kemp. I always say they changed my life. I don’t take it for granted at all.”